What career and study opportunities are open to students in the University of Rochester's new American Sign Language major? Several alumni of program will return to campus to talk about their own experiences in a panel discussion at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, in Dewey 1-101.
ASL was first offered as an undergraduate major in fall 1997. Seven UR grads will talk about their post-graduate projects and work. They are: Sarah Krupnick '96, who went on to complete the Interpreting Training Program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology; Sue Mantel '98, a graduate student in deaf education at Boston University; Eve Davidi '99, a graduate student in speech pathology at McGill University; Patrick Freivald '98 and Joanna Brown '98, who are in the Master of Science Secondary Education program at NTID; and Jessica Vasquez '99.
The University first offered ASL in 1989. Until 1997, students could concentrate on ASL through the interdepartmental degree program. Forty-seven students have gone through the ASL program since 1994; 18 of them have graduated as ASL majors since 1997, and 12 students have selected the program as their minor.
Besides standard basic language classes, the University's bachelor's degree program provides advanced literature and culture courses, the only one in New York State doing so. All classes at the 200-level and beyond are taught in ASL, immersion-style.
In addition to the major, the program offers an ASL teacher certification track to meet the growing demand for ASL instructors in high schools.
The panel presentation is part of the biweekly ASL Forums held throughout the school year. The forums provide ASL students the opportunity to learn about Deaf culture and the Deaf community. Events are signed and voice interpreted to help comprehension by beginning students.
Previous forums have looked at the Deaf Holocaust experience and the Deaf African-American community in Rochester, and featured performers from NTID and a deaf storyteller from South Africa. The Rochester area's own Deaf community is the largest, per-capita, in the country.